LGBT marriage and families

Hi everyone I hope you’ve had a good week and that your weekend has been beautiful and relaxing or busy but fun. Today’s post will be another rant from me. I will be focusing on a very right wing and largely religious based viewpoint. I will be splurging my hatred of the idea’s that members of the LGBT community shouldn’t be allowed to get married or raise children because it’s ‘in the interest of the children’.

Whenever I hear stories or read articles relating to this issue I can’t help but let out an external sigh, while inside I’m dying just a little bit more. These extreme viewpoints aren’t overly common in today’s British society but are still frequent enough to be newsworthy every so often. In my opinion, they are very harmful, hateful and backwards thinking. It is my opinion that people who believe or endorse these beliefs are concerned only with the ways of tradition and can’t get themselves out of their heads enough to accept acceptance and equal rights for all people of different sexualities.

The main argument made is that the ‘sanctity, tradition and fundamental building blocks’ of heterosexual marriage are weakened by allowing the LGBT community to have the same rights to marriage and God forbid allowing us access to the moral and financial responsibilities of raising children.

Apparently, we are not worthy enough to be viewed equally by God and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to get married legally. These viewpoints are all based on the idea that two people of the same sex cannot reproduce in a natural way. For the purpose of this rant, marriage is all about a man and a woman being able to make more human beings.

All I want to do is give that viewpoint the big middle finger and stick it where the sun don’t shine; all the while shouting a big ‘fuck you’.

As of March 31st, 2016 70,440 children in the UK alone were in some form of care setting (this meaning that they were not being looked after by one or both of their biological parents at the time of the date of the report). In other words, they were being looked after by their local authority. These statistics do not take into account young people who are 18+ or children living on the streets and have slipped through the net and are unaccounted for.

This high level of children being removed from a heterosexual household does make me want to scream from the rooftops. Just because you are capable of making a child who shares your DNA doesn’t mean you are fit to be a parent.

Every heterosexual parent who has had their child taken away from them for whatever reason obviously didn’t deserve the right to raise that child. If parents are in a heterosexual relationship but are shit parents because they abuse or neglect their child, then they are abominable people who should be damned to hell and should have their rights to be parents and be married taken away from them. Every case that I have heard of where children were being abused or neglected was in a heterosexual household and not the other way around.

Another reason why I want to scream and blindly run my mouth to any small minded, stereotypical, religious nut is that we who are part of the LGBT community will apparently corrupt the nation’s children and bring up kids who are only gay lesbian or bi. However, have you ever noticed that it is at least 90% of heterosexual households that raise children and adults of the LGBT community? So that idea is just a fucked up attempt at pulling at straws.

Then people who make these comments have the audacity to say they are not homophobic. Well sorry mate but you can tell yourself that as much as you want if that’s what helps you sleep at night, but you are rather passive aggressive in your homophobic nature. You’re trying to hide behind your ‘logical religious’ arguments, but that doesn’t and won’t wash with all of us mate. There is being logical, and then there is being logical to the point that you are just ridiculous.

The fact that people feel the need to keep bringing up these issues shows their total inability to change and their deepsteated bull-in-a-china-shop homophobic colours. We have moved forward in a positive manner here in the UK, and there is no reason to start regressing just because the rights of all doesn’t fit the religious viewpoints of a few.

No one can judge the moral compass or parenting skills of an individual based upon their sexuality or disability. To even think that people, who identify as LGBT or have a disability wouldn’t be able to raise a well rounded, healthy, happy, educated, socially comfortable, child who has economic stability are beyond me.

The welfare of the child is paramount, I can wholeheartedly agree with and back that statement and ideal. But to go as far as to say that certain people cannot achieve that based on their disability or sexuality is just so stupidly absurd that I’m lost for words with anger. As long as the child is in a happy, loving, comfortable home where all their needs are met, I don’t care who the parents are. Whether it be a heterosexual, homosexual or single parent household, the child’s welfare is of uttermost importance.

So there you have it. My little rant about pigs who believe that the traditional beliefs of the church should be upheld and how they rub me right up the wrong way because of their close minded stupid little shit storms of pathological attention seeking habits.

I want to say that I am sorry if I have offended anyone with what I have expressed in this post. These are my personal views and reactions to a certain select few and not the general population of those who are religious or spiritual. I believe that for the most part, people who are religious or spiritual can be and are very accepting, but there are those who take their religious views way to far just to bash on other people.

Until next time my lovlies I hope you have a good week. :).

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Stereotypical/frustrating things I’ve heard as an individual with a Visual impairment

Hi everyone I hope you’ve had a good week and weekend so far. I’m thinking from now on I’ll probably just post every Sunday rather than Friday. At least that way I’ll have a bit more energy and motivation to write. I just want to apologise for not uploading sooner. I did have a bit of writer’s block/lack of inspiration before this lovely little idea popped into my head after reading some other blogs about the subject. This week I will be giving some examples of just a few of the things that piss me off the most when people find out that I’m visually impaired.

1. Won’t glasses help?
No, do you think that I wouldn’t be wearing glasses every day if they had a significant impact on my vision? My vision is due to the undergrowth of my retina’s. Thus not enough light is let into my visual cortex. Unfortunately, glasses can’t magically make the retina’s bigger.

2. But you don’t look blind?
No? Really? I never really thought I seemed blind either thank you very much. The mere fact that I managed to put my clothes on the right way round with a set of matching socks is beyond me. Dude, just because I have a visual impairment doesn’t mean I have to start rocking back and forth, walk like a zombie, wave my hands like a manic duck and try and take my eyes out by sticking my fingers in them.

3. I’ll pray for you.
Wait, hold up. I’m not religious or even slightly spiritual so you praying to your version of God is lost on me. Anyway, why would God decide to take away my apparent ‘suffering’ when he has bigger fish to fry like trying to cure cancer or righting the wrongs of child molesters? Your view of suffering is entirely messed up if you think I need your prayers to be healed.

4. How many fingers am I holding up?
Man, this is one of the oldest questions in the book. If I’m standing close enough, I can perfectly well tell you how many fingers I’m holding up and give you one or two well-chosen fingers of my own, thanks.

5. Are things blurry?
Again, another old question. No simple enough. My vision is not blurry it’s just not as sharp and defined as yours.

6. Do you want to feel my face?
Ew, piss off you weirdo. That’s one fetish better left to you and the misses in the bedroom thanks very much.

7. Do you know sign language?
Really? If you have asked a blind/visually impaired person this, then you are rather stupid. Seeing as sign language is a visual set of hand movements it really rather goes against the whole concept that anyone with a VI would be able to use it. Sign Language is for those who are hard of hearing/deaf and rely on their eyesight over their hearing.

8. You’re such an inspiration.
Great thanks, but you have very little insight into what is inspirational then. Malala Yousafzai, Mahat Magandi, Martin Luther King, they are examples of inspirational individuals because they have helped change the world in a positive way. All I’m doing is living my life and coping with any of the unique challenges it throws at me. You’ll have your challenges that I wouldn’t be able to deal with, so I’m by no means inspirational.

9. So can you/do you work?
Yes, I’m not completely incapable of earning my money thank you very much. I know it’s such a shocker that they let me out of my cage even long enough to do anything useful with my life. Oh and by the way? NO I DON’T WORK WITH COMPUTERS. I work in a school as an MSA and TA would you believe it or not?

10. Can you/do you live independently?
Well, I went to uni for three years, and I still have all my body parts, didn’t burn the house down, just about managed to feed and clothe myself, managed to pay bills and attend lectures and even make a few friends I would say that was a success, don’t you? Just because the government has buggered all us young people up by rising the housing marking prices so no-one could reasonably afford to live on their own for two seconds without going bankrupt and dying, doesn’t mean I couldn’t.

So yes those are just 10 things that can be quite common to hear and are frustrating as hell, hense my rather ranty and sarcastic way of writting. However I hope you enjoyed this post and managed to learn something whilst having a little giggle along the way.

Until next week my lovlies, have a good week :).

What would I say to a class of kids with Visual impairments?

Hi everyone I hope you’ve had a good weekend despite the rain that has decided to descend upon us here in England.

Today’s post will be ever so slightly different, regarding style. I’m going to be writing a post as if I were writing a speech to be given to young people who are visually impaired or who have any form of disability. I would want to empower people without sounding too condescending.

This idea comes off the back of my sixth form days that I spent at a specialist school for people with visual impairments. Every so often we would have people come in to talk about what they were doing in terms of their work. In my memory the majority of people who came in to speak to us worked in office work or in IT.

I’m a firm believer that if an individual knows their own abilities and limitations and fully utalizes all possible help they can achieve great things and don’t have to fall the steryotyplical jobs or unemployment. So without further ado lets go.

Hello everyone my name is Ellie I’m 26 years old and I work in an SEN school for children aged 3 – 19 with moderated to profound and multiple learning disabilities.

When I was younger I didn’t have a distinct idea of what I wanted to do or be when I grew up. I always fancied myself as a famous personality however, I think a lot of little girls of about 10 or 11 are drawn to the luxurious, glitz and glamour that fame can bring. The fantasy of being remembered and known by everyone, not feeling like an invisible face in the crowed is also an exciting part of that world.

As I grew older my mentality started to change. I thought about being a nurse at one point in my life. Nevertheless, I went to uni, studied contemporary performance, applied myself and came out with a good solid 2.1.

During my time at uni I volunteered at a theatre company for adults with learning disabilities. Through that contact I sarted doing part time support work for two of the young ladies who attended the theatre company.

Up until that point in my life I had no real idea of where my life was headed, what I wanted to do after uni or how to go about finding interesting work. It was this one oppitunity that gave me that all inportant light bulb moment.

For the first time in my life I had an idea as to what sort of work I would be interested in doing. I wanted to work with people. More specifically I wanted to work with people with a disability. I found the work interesting, diverse, challenging and never boring. I’m not someone who could have a 9 -5 office job. It wouldn’t take that long before you would find a shrivled, drivaling puddle version of me loytering in the corner somewhere. But that’s just me. We are all differnt and find different things fun and attractive.

Once I had finished my degree I was once again at a bit of a loss of what to do and where to head. My degree subject had not given me any knowledge or training in the type of work that I thought I could possibly persue. So what the hell was I going to do next?

In the September of 2014 I started a degree in Learning disability nursing. This, I thought would set me out for a good, long and prosperous career. Due to my lack of proper support. lack of understanding from the university, naievaty and lack of technology to help aid me I was not allowed to continue the course.

This was a devistating turn of events and one that I hadn’t really factored into my thinking. During my time at school and my time doing my first degree I had become accustomed to having my needs met, having help and not really having to think to much about the impact of my sight.

This experiance, therefore, taught me a great deal. Understand how you’re sight impacts your learning and work style, accept that you do need help and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Utalize every possible aid that you have access to, to help you improve your chances. Be prepared for set backs and lack of understanding and pre concieved judgments concerning your ability to perform certain tasks.

Unfortunatly we still live in a world where employers and educators in mainstream settings don’t have the right knowledge, stratagies and techniques to help you. You have to be the one to prove what you are capable of. Don’t shy away from what you want and need. Accept, embrace and utalize every possible stratagy to help break down the barriers that you may face.

Even if you don’t know what you want to do now accept that there will be oppitunities that arise in your future that you can’t imagine arising at this point in your life. When they do arise don’t shy away from them. Grab hold of them and figure out how to persue what you want to do. No one can tell you what you can and can’t do until you’ve tried it. Only after all stratagies have been exhausted can you truely know if someting is working for you or not.

We all have to accept that there will be certain things that we may never be able to do, driving for instance, being an airline pilot, it is rather unlickly that we will ever be able to fight for queen and country. However, you are a human being full of possibilities. You are worth every once of what you give the world.

You may have an excellent eye for maths or the sciences, something I would give an arm and a leg to be good at. You may be able to chanel the likes of Dickens or Shakespere. You may be the next Beyonce, Michael Jackson or Bill Gates. You may feel strongly about activism and change the world. Who knows, the possibilities are endless.

Knowing or discovering who you are, your passions and you’re ideal work enviroment is the most important factor for your future. Don’t settle for second best just because someone else says so. Don’t caunt yourself out just because you have a visual impairment. You deserve the right to equal access to the work that you want and need to do.

You are the person who dictates your future. In the course of your life you will come across bumps and junctions in the road. You may feel lost and unsure of how to find your way again and you know what? That’s normal. In fact I would go as far to say it would be rather strange if you didn’t face any hiccups in life.

The way we deal with those situations, how we decide to move forward, the help and advice we seek and the ability to reflect and create action plans to move forward are what make you a rounded person. Knowing what works for you in different situations will help you to present the best version of you possible.

As I stated earlier I work in a school. Some of you may be thinking how are you able to do that? Well I have developed a couple of techniques that are so stupidly simple that it’s almost rediculous. For example when I’m supporting the children on the playground I walk around more often to be able to see where specific children are. This is because my long distance is atroushous so I combat that easily enough.

Some children may like tipping chairs over or pulling hair. Due to the fact that I know these sorts of behaviour are likly to present themselves in oppotune moments I have learnt that it’s always best practice to be constantly vidual. However, this is due, in part because I know the student’s and how to help manage behaviour rather than any techniques I implement due to my visual impairment.

I love my job. Working with kids is what I want to do and I fully intend to make a career out of it. I myself want to go back to uni to study Occupational Therapy and hopefully specialize in pediatric work. From my own past expriences I have come to realize that I have to take the leading step in how I work and learn best. I have to work with others to come to the best possible solution to help me achieve the best possible outcome and move forward.

Basically what I am trying to say is that it’s important to know what you are required to do in your job or education setting, become familiar with the type of activities that you will be facing and carrying out on a daily basis and create your own techniques for coping and ask your employer or educator for appropriate accomadations as they are legally required to do so.

Don’t let society or yourself hold you back. You are not your visual impairment. You are an individual who wants their needs to be met and succeed in life. You just happen to have different challenges that you have to face so be the best version of you possible by going and getting what you deserve.
I hope you enjoyed this post. I decided to write this one because I don’t believe that young people with a disability are given enough empowerment from a young age. By accepting ourselves and the help and techniques that we can and should be using, we are able to make a positive contribution to society. We should never be made to feel like we are different and unable to access learning or work based on disability.

Some of this initative falls into our own hands. We cannot expect to be handed the world on a silver platter, nor can we become annoyed or frustrated if we simply and easily fall into steryotypes. Society won’t change if we don’t make a change ourselves. We have to work with others to teach and learn about how each individual works best. We have to prove that we are capable of achieveing the things we strive for and that we don’t want or have to conform to societies views on disability. We are individual people who deserve to be treated as just that, individual humans with rights.

Until next week my lovlies I hope you have a fabulous weekend (especially seeing as it’s a bank holiday, hurrah for an extra day to have a lie in). Lets hope the rain abaits a bit for the next three days. See you next Friday :).

Depression and me pt 2

Hi guys, I hope you have had a good weekend. I want to apologise for my utter failed to get this up on Friday but better late than never right? At least I managed to get my arse in gear and write the second part of my journey to finally being diagnosed with depression.

When I left off last time, I had just turned 18 and had been discharged from the community mental health team up in Worcester having been told I had a bad case of teenage mood swings. It wasn’t just that though not at all.

For the next year, things eased off a little bit. That’s not to say I didn’t have days when I was at an utter lack of what to do with myself. The stress of exams and continued social anxiety were still an issue for me, but I tried to pass it off as just being a teenager as that is what I had been told by a professional who deemed that nothing was wrong with me.

However, when I went to uni things started to take a turn for the worse. I became increasingly isolated as I was increasingly self-aware and conscious of the fact that I didn’t have anyone I knew around me. I found it difficult to make friends which meant I rarely had anyone I felt I could talk to and confide in to help get me out of my headspace.

I didn’t feel that I was worthy of being at uni at all. I didn’t think I was intelligent or creative enough to be doing the ccourse that I was doing. I saw others around me having such a good time, what seemed like all the time. I wasn’t a part of that which made me withdraw even further into myself. I couldn’t and therefore didn’t cope with anything.

Around half way through my first year was the first time that I hit the first true low and had a moment of complete and utter lack of logical thinking. I wanted so badly to hurt myself in some way. For me the easiest way to do that was to take to much of the anti-epaleptic drug that I take.

This had the effect of making me very sick and slightly out of it. Despite this I still went to my lecture that day and tried my very hardest to carry on as if I hadn’t done anything at all. There was only one person who truely bothered to come after me and ask if I was ok. For that I was thankful. However, notheing further came of it. When I got back to my dorm I was left on my own again to be sick and try and salvage something of the day.

The next time someone noticed that I wasn’t quite right was when my flute teacher noticed that I had cut myself. A few days previously I had, completely by accident I might add, managed to smash a glass of mine in the kitchen of my flat in my second year. This was simply due to my own clumsyness as a partially sighted person who managed to forget I had set the glass on the work surface, moved my arm and knowcked the glass to the floor.

At the time I picked up one of the shards of glass I obviously wasn’t thinking straight, no pun intended of course. Mental illness has this funny way of skewing the way you think. You don’t think of throwing it away because it could hurt someone else and it’s of no use any more. You see it as a tool to hurt yourself on the outside, thus trying to aliviate the pain you are feeling inside.

Anywhno it was a hot summers eveing and the music rooms did tent to be rather stuffy. I had to take my jumper off othersie I would simply have fainted due to heat. My teacher was so helpful and unfasied by the situation. She offered to help me book an oppintment with student services to seek advice and support.

If it wasn’t for her and what she did for me I don’t know what could have happend. Luckily I managed to see the doctor and was perscribed citalipram which is an SSRI drug, a form of anti depressant. I was offered this drug becasue it was the safest option for me with the epilim, the anti-epileptic drug I take.

That along with some counceling did help to aliviate the pain I was feeling, to a certain extent. It didn’t get down to the root of the caurse though but it helped me get through the next year and a half of my degree.

During the may of my third year an event happened that I still to this day find hard to believe actually happened to me. I still have a mental block about it and have a tendancy to play it down. I was at a friends house party, a friend that I have known since I was sixteen. We were celebrating her and another friends birthday.

During the eveing we all had quite a few drinks. I wasn’t completely off my face but I wasn’t stone cold sober either. Anywho I needed to go to the loo as I felt that I MIGHT be sick but I primarily just needed to pee.

So one of the guys at the party said he would come up and help me be sick if I needed and just kinda followed me. At first, coz I had consumed alchohol I was like ‘ok sure’. So it turned out that I just needed to pee.

Anywho as I was sitting there on the loo he started to kiss me. At first I wasn’t that bothered about that. But then he started to touch me and tried to touch me down there. I said I didn’t feel comforable with him doing that. He tried to keep on doing that with me telling him that I really wasn’t into it. Luckily he did stop before it went any further.

However, he said that he wouldn’t let me out of the loo because he didn’t want people thinking that we’d had sex which was just a stupid idea because the longer we stayed in there the more people would have thought we were having sex. That in itself scared me. I didn’t want to be in there. I just wanted to get out any away from the situation.

Now people will say that that is sexual assault. In my mind’s eye it’s hard to try and explain. Intelecually and logically I know that it is but somehow I can’t actually convice myself that it really is. Does that make any sense? To me it’s almost just like an event that happened to someone else almost. It’s almost like because it wasn’t rape it wasn’t anything at all. Even writing about it now or having spoken about it in therapy in the past it’s like it happened to someone else but when I talk about it I get uncomfortable. It’s like I’ve completely detached myself from what actually happened.

I don’t know if I can give it justice really. It’s like I wasn’t that person and that I’ve never been violated like that but I know that I have. It’s a weird state of being. I never pressed charges because I didn’t think I had been done wrong by. I didn’t think that I would be taken seriously when I couldn’t even fully accept and acknowledge that it had truely happened.

So after the event I carried on my mary way and finished my degree and left uni feeling completely and utterly lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. All I really knew was that I wanted to work with people with a learning disability because I had volunteered at a theatre company for adults with a learning disability. But I didn’t know what to do, which path to go down, what there was out there to to or how to go about doing anything like that in my local area.

In the summer of 2013 I applied, through clearnce, and managed to get a place on the Learning disability nursing degree course at my local uni which was convinent because I could stay at home and didn’t have to take out another loan to carry on studying or stay in halls.

So for another academic year I was in uni and studying for something that I thought would give me a job and a career to look forward to which would mean money and security and a bit more of a clear cut plan for my future.

However at the end of my first year I was told that I was unable to carry on into my second year, effectivly I was kicked off the course. I had just completed my third and final placment for the year and concerns had been raised about my ability to read the MAR charts and labels on medication boxs. I wasn’t even given a chance to do a catch up placement to try and redeem myself. It was deemed that it would be to unsafe for me to continue. My final placement had been in an inpatient mental health ward for people with learning disabilities where behaviour can be exta challenging. In heinsight I could have utalised more equipment to help me to easily read MAR charts and med boxes and when qualified I would choose not to work in an enviroment where I would be putting myself at risk. However, the decision was taken away from me.

A year of my hard work, time and effort had been wripped from under my feet. I felt totally lost again and with no direction to head in. I’m someone who rarely gets angry about situations but this one really wrattled me. I wasn’t given a second chance to try and prove myself. I have seen and heard stories of people with my condition becoming medical practitioners. One a doctor in an ER and another, a nurse who qualifed from a different uni. Therefore it is by no means of the imagination impossible for me to have completed the course. I was angry that I wasn’t given that chance by this one uni. That they had so little faith in me and my potential ability to do something. I really made me wander if I was ever going to be able to do something worth while because of other people’s lack of awarness about visual impairment.

Within a couple of months of me leaving uni I started working in an independant living home for adults with learning disabilities. To say it was a challenge would be an understatment. The constant chaos and instability of the mental health of the people there, the long hours and the feeling that I wasn’t really making much of an impact did put a strain on me and my coping mechinisms and ability to keep my head above water.

After those two years I really did start slipping again and seriously contemplated finding a way of taking my own life. I felt as if I wasn’t able to cope with anything anymore. I didn’t want to have to cope anymore. I felt that I was a burden to those around me and that they would be better off without me as I wasn’t able to provide anything useful to anyone. What could I offer that someone else couldn’t give them?

Again the self harm started to rear its ugly head. I would cut a lot more and deeper than I ever had before hand. It was almost like the physical pain was such a relief. I didn’t have to be stuck in my own head any more. I could focus on something else and that was glorious.

It wasn’t until my mum saw the marks on my arm and urged me to go and see my GP that I finally managed to get the proper help that I needed. I was diagnosed with chronic moderate depression with symptoms of social anxiety and PTSD. I was lucky enough to have my meds uped and given a course of CBT which really did help me to understand the root causes of a lot of my problems.

Luckily it has now been two years since then and I have not had any major issues. I will admit that I still have my days when the thoughts do get to me a bit and I’m not my usual self but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was. Although I have had the odd suisidal thought I have never felt the need to self harm or take things into my own hands again.

That’s not to say that I will be scott free for the rest of my life. As with any other chronic illness Depression can have a tendancy to relapce but for now things are ok and I’m muddling by in a much more stable mind set.

I hope this post wasn’t too jumpy and had some sort of cohent way about it. For now my lovelies I shall love you and leave you, Until next time, have a good week. 🙂

Depression and me pt 1

Hi, guys. I want to start off by apologising for this post being a week late. I was on holiday in Venice with my family last week hence why there was no upload. I hope you guys have had a good couple of weeks.

Today I will be talking about my personal experience with depression. I will be spliting this over two posts as I don’t want this to be to long, leaving you bored and unable/unwilling to read all the wa to the end. It can be a hard and emotional topic to discuss, but I want to write about this in the hope that light will be shed on different experiences allowing for the stigma around mental illness will be diminished even just a little.

It’s estimated, that approximately 1 in every four people will suffer from some form of mental health problem at some point in their lifetime, with depression, anxiety or a mix of both being the most common diagnoses.

Although depression doesn’t discriminate between age, gender, race, culture, economic status, disability or physical/mental ability, sexuality or any other outside factor, some groups are more at risk of experiencing a mental health problem.

Those who are older, identify as LGBT or have a pre-existing disability or medical condition to contend with are more likely to face discrimination, homelessness, poor ill health, the potential for isolation, poor or complete inability to participate in meaningfull activities and poorer access to the local and wider community. Inability to acess high quality education, work and lower wages leading to poverty.

As I have mentioned above these are just possible risk groups. It is not to be assumed that anyone and everyone who is elderly or disabled/chronically ill will face mental illness. Nor is it acceptable to presume to someone who seems to have everything is immune from suffering from a mental illness.

There are many many situations that can bring on mental ill health. Anyone suffering must be listened to, treated with respect, given appropriate help for their personal pridicamant and treated as a human being who’s life is valubale.

I myself started experiencing symptoms of depression from the age of 16. I had recently moved away to boarding school during term times. I went to a specialist education school for 11 – 19 year olds with a visual impairments.

I personally loved being away from home and I never really had any issues with the whole aspect of living away from my family as I got to see them on the odd weekend that I went home or during school holidays.

However, up until then I had been in mainstream education and I think the extreame difference between the two different settings made me, subconciously, realise just how differnt and isolated I had felt during my time in mainstream education.

During the school day, at my mainstream setting, I’d had a TA with me in the majority of my lessons. The teachers never understood my sight or what I needed. There was a lack of consistancy in terms of the work that was provided in a format that was accessible to me. I was often told that I had to use tools that I believed made me stand out and made me feel uncomfortable.

I knew and inherintly feelt different from my peers. Couple this with someone who isen’t the brightest social butterfly and you get someone who becomes awkward and socially anxious. I believe that my visual impairment did have a massive impact on the way I interacted with others and I can find it hard at times to read others imply because I find it more difficult to physically see what they are doing so that has lead to some awkward or hesitant reactions on my part sometimes.

I have also noticed that I am someone who is so self depricated it has gotten to the point where compliments have and still do sometimes feel like stabs of pain. They make me feel like the person who is dishing out the compliment is a fake and rather two-faced. It is a rather odd and debilitating state of mind.

Due to this mentality I have shied away from fully participating in activities that I love such as singing and other instrimental solos and so on. I’m so concerned with people’s initial thoughts of me. I also have this irational need to do something perfectly the first time round therefore, I make myself extra nervous and fuck up even more than I would if I was more relaxed and less concerned.

I have a feeling that this way of thinking and the feeling of being different but not wanting to appear visually impaired all became to much, therefore, by the time I was 16 it started taking its toll on my mental health.

I have written a previous post about my coming out story. I also believe that this had a major impact on my life and mental health as I was so confused and scared about the whole issue. I didn’t know if I was into girls or guys or both. I just wanted to know one way or the other and that instability and confusion can be frustrating and taxing on any individual.

At times during the three years that I was at boarding school I started to feel that I wasn’t up to much. I truely started to feel unworthy of being anyone’s friend. I couldn’t see what I could offer. I always felt that there was someone else who could give that same level or even a better quality of friendship to someone. I started to feel jelous of others and frustrated and defeated within myself.

I alway felt like I was missing out on all the cool hang outs and fun and funny moments that the social aspect of the school had to offer. Due to this I started to withdraw myself at times and so I found myself in a catch 22 situation. I desperatly wanted to be around others but somehow couldn’t find out how to fit exactly into any one circle of friends, thus missing out on some of the inside jokes and ways of acting. I also found myself feeling rather awkward at times, un-naturally funny, witty, intelligent I didn’t feel I had anything to offer and would hold back from contributing more fully to conversations.

It was also around this time in my life that I started having the very first niggling thourghts of self harm. I never did anything particularly serious. Approximatly twice I purpously took a few too many anti-epileptic tablets with the result of very minor headaches and feeling slightly lathargic.

At about 17 I finally went to a pediatric phycologist where I had some assessments and counciling. That only lasted a few months though before I turned 18 and I was handed over to the adult services.

That very first assessment of my ‘adult’ life would be the last one within that particular setting. I got told that I was experienceing extreame moods that could be typical within adolecence but was nothing to worr about it. No more action was taken at that time and I carried on as normal, well normal for me.

For now my lovlies I will finish. I shall pick up the story approxiamatly half way through my first year at uni when I was 19. I shall love you and leave you until next time. I hope you all had a good easter weekend :).

The enlightenment of a lesbian

Hi Everyone I hope you’ve had a fantastic week. Today marks the end of the Easter term. Working in a school sets you up to fall into a weird state of mind where you start counting down the days until the next holiday right from the first day of term. That’s not to say I don’t love my job because I do beyond belief but if you ask anyone who works in a school and they don’t openly admit to counting the days off on their calendars, then you can safely assume they do it in private.

However, that is not what I’m going to be talking about today. I will be talking about my experience of coming out as a lesbian. I’m now 26 and the process, for me, started when I was around 13 – 14 years old. It’s strange to think that I’ve known that I like girls/women for a longer period than I didn’t.

I feel the need to start off by saying that I feel very thankful that I am one of the very lucky ones. Many people in the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community have faced a lot of stigma, fear, persecution, hate and have been the victims of crime even among their families. I can only speak for myself and my own, rather sheltered story.

I have been lucky enough to have a supportive group of friends and family members around me my entire life who have, with very little comment, accepted who I am.

So my journey began when I was around 13 years old nearing the end of Year 9 of secondary school. It was at this time in my life when I started to become aware of the fact that I found women good looking. At that age, I didn’t realise what that meant. I guess you could say that I just thought that was a regular thing that every girl did. I’d had crushes on boys in my year. However, being able to look back now I can see that there was a clear distinction starting to form between the way I was starting to view other girls in my year to the way I was looking at boys.

This spark began to grow and develop until I was 14 and half way through year 10. It was at this stage in my life that I had my first proper crush on a friend of mine. I couldn’t get over how cool she was, she was confident, amazing at art, had that gothic independent streak in her. I either wanted to be her or be with her. I couldn’t quite make up my mind but either way, I knew I liked being around her.

One evening I picked up the courage to message her on myspace, god that takes me back; unfortunately, the feelings weren’t mutual luckily she was cool with it, and we remained friends. She was kind enough to give me some soothing words of advice. For the life of me, I can’t remember her exact words, but I remember the gist.

Only you know your mind, feelings and emotions. You’re the only one who knows what’s right for you. If you like girls that’s fine, if you like boys that’s fine, if you like both that’s fine as well. Only you can know that and no-one can make that call for you. That same sentiment applies to anyone in the LGBT community. Each will identify differently.

If someone is transgender (someone born into one gender, male or female but feels strongly that they were born into the wrong body i.e. they are the opposite gender to their body and will likely suffer from body dysmorphia) then who are we to tell them they can’t be who they truly are?

If someone identifies as non-binary – genderfluid, agender, bigender (an individual born in the body of one gender but feels like their personality and mentality can vary between male or female) then we cannot constrict them from presenting in a way that makes them happy and comfortable in who they are.

Somebody who might identify as Bisexual – emotionally and physically attracted to both men and women, may be seen as unable to make up their mind. I was on the receiving end of comments like this when I was around 16 – 17 years old and however light-hearted the comment may be it can still be hurtful by the way). They are not constrained to a gender. Rather, they like the personality of the individual. Another word often used in this situation is pansexual.

Of course, there are many labels for people who lie along the spectrum of straight or lesbian/gay and male/female and many people may have more than one label. However, it can be very confusing and very constricting at times to be labelled, and some individuals do not like to label themselves but just live each day as it comes.

Anywho getting back to my story, it was not long after that incident that I was able to find the courage to come out as bisexual to my group of friends at school. Luckily I was not the only person in that particular group who identified as Bi, so I felt fairly at ease to do so.

My parents, on the other hand? Well, that was the terrifying part. You never quite know how they’ll react, whether it’ll bother them if they’ll feel disappointed and betrayed. Not having that control over reactions and the fear of the consequences of your feelings can be a frightening thing.

You don’t want to be shut out because of who you are and how you express yourself. You don’t want to be belittled or undermined because you are a certain way or your sexuality doesn’t conform to the outdated social construct of what is considered normal.

I can’t remember the finner details of when I told my mum that I thought I was Bi. I believe it was because I wasn’t initially planning on saying anything at that particular time. It was a relaxed Saturday evening, and I think The X Factor was on and my mum had asked my brothers what they thought of Cheryl Cole and then she asked me and it just came out that I figured I was bi.

I also think I was lucky in the fact that it wasn’t made a big deal of. It was almost like nothing had been said, not in a negative, ‘we’re gonna ignore this’ type situation, it was more of an, ‘ok that’s fine we’re comfortable with this, and you can talk to me whenever you feel you want to’, kind of situation.

So from the age of around 14, I was officially Bi, and I started to accept that it was ok for me to like both men and women. I learnt that this ‘shift’ in one aspect of my life didn’t mean the end of the world, more it was just part of me growing up and getting to know more about myself.

For the next 3 – 4 years, if anyone ever asked me about my sexuality I would say that I was Bi.

When I was 16, I went to a specialist boarding school for people with Visual Impairments. It was my first time away from home and a time that I learnt a lot about myself. Being away from home at this age can be a rather peculiar feeling. You have the licence to explore who you are without the confinement of your parents being on your back the entire time.

It was during this three year period that I went through a huge mental and emotional journey regarding my sexuality. To say that I was confused would be the understatement of the year.

I had gone from being straight one minute 2 years beforehand to being Bi. Then during another three year period, I went from being Bi to Lesbian and back and forth for a little while. It’s such a weird state of limbo that you find yourself being in. You never know quite where you stand with yourself.

At that age I was someone who just wanted to know one way or the other. I wanted to be able to label myself. Not quite being able to was a real struggle. It was a strange state of affaires because I had, what you could call, minor crushes, on a couple of the boys in my year at this point in time. However, it was their personality that was more of the attraction rather than their physical being.

I had no idea of what my head or my emotions were doing to me and I think that the worry and the concern did get in the way of letting things just blossom more naturally. I didn’t quite want to be into girls but I knew I wasn’t into boys the same way that all my friends were.

It didn’t help that non of my close friends were experiancing the same thing as me so I didn’t really have anyone to talk to who could truely understand what I was going through and help me in any way. Having real people who you can trust and talk to who have experience of what your situation is can be a life saver at times.

However, since the age of eighteen I have self identified as lesbian. Not that I particularly like that word. I prefer the word gay. As strange as that may seem for a woman. It’s my own personal preference. Some women prefer the word lesbian, some such as myself prefer the word gay and some don’t like to be called anything. It litterally does depend on the individual.

Since 18 I have had a few periods of personal crises where I do wander, ‘am I really, fully gay?’ The simplest answer that would be yes. I would much rather be with another woman than a man. That’s not to say that if I fell for a man I wouldn’t date him and be with him for the rest of my life. No, I think it just depends on the personality of the person. Nonethelss, I know that I am much more physically attracted to women and emotionally, I feel I would be much more relaxed and open with a woman.

However, it is said that sexuality is fluid. I have now come to embrace that saying. It really does depend on the personality of the person, how they make you feel and how you interact. It’s not as black and white as some people make it out to be. It’s all about your own personal beliefs and feelings.

Your love life and sexuality is sometime that only you can be certain of. No one can tell you who you should and shouldn’t be. Yes, the likelyhood is that you will face times in your life when you question who you are and you know what? It’s ok to do so as long as you come to the conclusion and answer the questions by your own valision. There is nothing wrong with not knowing everything all the time but coming to terms with who you are and accepting who you love for them and not their gender/gender identity or sexuality. As long as you have a loving, caring relationship based on trust, friendship, respect and honesty things will wind up working out exactly as they should do.

For now my lovelies I shall love you and leave you until next time. Have a great weekend :).

Daily life with albinism

Hi everyone I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable week.

In my last post, I gave you guys a brief overview of the more technical side of my visual impairment, Occularcutanious Albinism type 2 (OCA2). This week I want to give a brief insight into how this condition has and still affects me in my life so far. I won’t be going into any details about my experiences in both mainstream and SEN education or my experiences with discrimination in this post as I would want to go into further detail about that at a later date. So without any further ado, let’s get this party started.

So I was diagnosed at approximately two months old when my parents began to have concerns about me not looking directly at people and not reacting as a normal child would when people entered a room. After tests had been run, it was concluded in me having this particular condition.

From a young age, I was under the care of Professor Moor M.D at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. I had to have yearly checkups. This would involve, primarily a lot of waiting around, before undergoing different tests, which would include having eyedrops to dilate my eyes. I would then have to place my head into one of those headpieces and look into a bright light, so the professional could see into the back of my eye to evaluate the structure of my eye and the development of my rods and cones which are two structures that make up the retina.

I would also have to do multiple eye chart tests to determine my level of acuity and long distance ability. I also had to read the different sized text in books, to see how small print could be before I started to squint and move forward to see it.

Luckily I only had to go through this long, arduous process once a yea until I was 18. My condition is stable, meaning it won’t get any worse and as I turned 18, the age at which you are legally considered an adult in the UK, I was informed that I didn’t need annual appointments anymore. Thus I would only need to go if I felt it necessary.

Luckily I have never needed to go back to Moorfields to this date, and hopefully, I won’t need to for a long time coming.

Yes so this is all good and well Ellie, but you haven’t told us how you deal with everyday life yet. Well hang on I’m going to get to that now you, my lovelies.

I want to start off by saying it’s very hard to try and explain what I can and can’t see as I have nothing to compare my vision too. However, I will try my best.

A lot of the time people will ask me if my vision is blurry. The simple answer to that is no. My visual acuity is pretty decent. It’s not as sharp as my peers without a visual impairment, though. The way I try and explain it to people is by comparing non-HD tvs to the new super sharp screen tvs.

I struggle a lot with long distance i.e. my long distance vision is just like ‘nope I’m not gonna allow you to see clearly what’s a long way away’. This can be a real issue when trying to read things like overhead train or bus stop timetables or overhead menus in restaurants and cafes, don’t even get me started on trying to figure out what drinks they have behind the bar at clubs. Trying to recognise people at a distance can make me feel like an awkward turtle as I won’t recognise them half the time unless I’m right next to them or I’ve passed them. I’m not rude at all, that’s not the sort of person that I am by any means. I haven’t really got a mean bone in my body. However, just knowing that I can appear rude because of my sight is one of the big pet peeves I have about having a VI. If ever you were to ask me if I would have normal sight if I could most of the time I would say no but this issue is one of the two main reasons that I would say ‘yes please’ to normal sight, that and the ability to drive.

When trying to read labels or descriptions on the back of products? Well, lets just say I have no idea how I ever existed before I had my iPhone and it’s assistive technology to help me with that one. I remember the first ever phone I had. Well, sort of It was an updated version of those classic Nokia phones back in the day. Looking back now, I can safely say the screen was an absolute B***H. The screen size was terrible, the picture quality was awful and played havoc with my eyes, and the lack of assistive technology was crazy insane.

When I first got an iPhone, I started off with the 4S, my mind was blown, and I’ve never looked back since. The picture is fantastic, the inbuilt assistive technology, zoom and voice over on every Apple product, works seamlessly and the screen size of the 6S plus that I have at the moment is incredible for me. I also have a very useful app that turns the phone into a magnifier. This app/technology is far superior to any manual hand held magnifier I’ve had in the past. It means I can finally read books, labels, letters, bus and train timetables, etc. with ease and I don’t need to spend an extra £600 on a separate, electronic magnifier because the picture is so smooth, seamless, sharp and clear.

I am in love with apple products, the only thing I don’t have is the laptop. As I mentioned above,  the inbuilt assistive technology is amazing across the bored, there’s no need for any additional costs for things such as JAWS or Supernova, which are screen enlargment/reading systems that you have to pay for and manually install on the computer/laptop. These external systems can be quite expensive and can sometimes be prone to crashing and taking up space on the computer’s internal storage.

When travelling around and about, I’m ok I don’t have any particularly significant issues. The main concerns for me come in the form of stairways, as I have minimal depth perception trying to figure out how deep a step is can be a real nightmare at times. Another issue that I have troubles with is when the colour of the ground changes, e.g. when they have patterns in on flat surfaces in the town centres, because it can sometimes look like there is a step there when there isn’t.

Sometimes people with a VI prefer to walk on a particular side of someone else i.e. the individual prefers to walk on the right or left hand side of the people they are with depending on various factors. I myself tend to walk on people’s left side (the person is on my right hand side) because my left eye is stronger. Therefore, I am able to gain more information about the world around me and react to it quicker because my field of vision isn’t so dominated by the person. It’s a strange sense of relaxed comfort that many, including myself can’t explain to our sighted friends but it’s just a normal day to day way of life for us.

Another issue that likes to creep up on me is my ability or lack thereof to judge how far away moving objects can be, correctly. This is especially tricky in the case of bicycle users as they are not very visible in the first place.

Sometimes, if my eyes are tired, dry or just generally having an off day, I can find it harder to navigate as it’ll take me longer to process the information that I’m receiving because my eyes simply can’t take it in all at once. This is also the case when it’s dazzling outside, and I’m blonde enough to have forgotten my sunglasses.

So this has been quite a long, brief, overview, of how my sight affects my daily life. It can be tough to explain to people sometimes, because, if like me, you were born with a stable condition and you’ve never known any different, you make small allowances without even realising it. That’s just the reality of life for many people with a disability, it’s normal for us, and you know what? That’s ok that’s what we’re used to we know no different and we just carry on with our lives in our unique way.

For now my lovelies I shall love you and leave you until next time. HJave a great weekend :).